Episode 8-23 - Distant Elephants
By: LauraJo (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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are Registered Trademarks of Paramount Pictures. No infringement
of Paramount's copyrights is intended. Voyager Virtual Season
8 (VS8) is a non-profit endeavor. The unique characters
and milieu of VS8 are the property of the VS8 producers
and individual authors. This story is the property of the
author. Please do not repost without permission.
the heat of the day slowly started to build, a tiny blemish
appeared against the background of the perfect red sky.
In this deserted area of land on the outskirts of a small
town, no one was present to witness as the outline of a
Starfleet shuttle gradually formed from the moving shadow
and grew larger as it made its final descent. Eddies created
by the shuttle's movement caused dust to swirl on the ground
until slowly, gently, the small craft touched down.
hatch opened with a hiss, and rose to reveal two people
waiting to disembark. A vulcan male and female stood carrying
a travel bag each and carefully scanning their surroundings.
Once the hatch had fully risen, the male thanked the pilot
with a nod of his head and walked out of the vessel, followed
closely by the female. Once they were clear, the shuttle
took off, leaving them alone and returning the peace and
stillness to the area.
they turned to face each other, the vulcan female spoke
three simple words.
were more people present to witness as the dark profile
of the starship Voyager came into view in the skies above
San Francisco, but not as many as some had predicted. There
was no cheering crowd, no banners were waved to welcome
the ship to her final resting place; only scattered groups
of those interested enough to watch what, when put simply,
was just a starship landing like any other.
was true that not many ships landed in this particular location,
just as it was true that this wasn't and never would be
'just a starship', but it was also the case that most people
had said their goodbyes and waved the vessel off when she
had docked at Utopia Planetia. The area surrounding the
landing site was populated with scattered islands of people,
each one averaging only one or two individuals. Keeping
to herself under the shade of a lone tree, Kathryn Janeway
awaited her ship's final descent.
hadn't spoken to any of the other onlookers, although she
had recognised some faces as members of her old crew. She
suspected that somewhere out there, B'Elanna was standing
with Tom and Miral. In many ways, a ship belonged to its
Chief Engineer every bit as much as it did to its captain,
and though B'Elanna often tried not to show it, she had
a sentimental streak in her. She would need to be here just
as much as Kathryn herself did.
had begun to accept Voyager's fate. It had been a slow,
hard process, one started after witnessing the docking at
Utopia Planetia with Chakotay. At least Voyager wasn't being
consigned to a life as scrap metal; not many ships had the
honour of being preserved as museums, let alone with pride
of place in San Francisco itself. Unlike many captains,
she would have the privilege of being able to revisit her
old vessel at virtually any time she pleased.
she still had to be present to see the ship that had been
her home for close to eight years land safely. Starfleet
could have asked her to land the ship she had captained
for so long, the ship that had only known her as its captain,
and Kathryn was annoyed that they were using a skeleton
crew of engineers from Utopia Planetia to do the job. They
could have made something of Voyager's landing, rather than
trying to sneak her onto the Earth's surface with as little
fuss as possible.
were her views, the ones she had confided to very few people;
but Janeway also recognised that many people had achieved
a sense of closure after seeing the ship dock at Utopia
Planetia - Chakotay amongst them. He would have been there
to see Voyager land anyway, in support of his best friend,
but he'd been called to his sister's. He had instead promised
to accompany Kathryn as she toured the new museum later
time that transpired between Voyager coming into view and
the ship touching down appeared to be inexplicably long.
Kathryn decided that either her perception was suffering
some unknown ailment, or the crew onboard the vessel were
being especially careful to keep the exhibits intact. The
museum's preparation before landing the ship appeared to
be the one concession the powers that be had made to give
the landing any significance. This way, the museum would
be ready for viewings as soon as it was secured on the ground,
rather than waiting the time it would take for exhibits
to be set up, wall displays mounted and visitor guides produced.
The doors would open after lunch this afternoon, mostly
to members of Starfleet and those who had prearranged to
be there on the first day. General tours started at the
beginning of the following week.
the time for the ship to land did finally arrive, it was
without pomp or ceremony. There were no announcements, no
flashing lights, and visitors were left to discern the appropriate
moment to leave the area only from their own observation.
Kathryn didn't stay as long as she though she would have.
Rather than watching everyone else leave around her, she
turned and quietly left the area before the ship's systems
had even begun to shut down. She had seen what she needed
to: her ship's final flight. In less than three hours she
was due back to tour the new museum, she would walk around
the grounded vessel then.
now, she had a day to get on with.
took one last look at the ship as her engines powered down,
and then made his way over to where he had spotted Tom,
B'Elanna and Miral earlier. As he got closer, it was Tom
that spotted him first.
Harry! Did you see it?" Tom actually seemed excited
by the whole thing, an attitude that as yet had not permeated
through much of the crew. Harry's reply, though not quite
so exuberant, was nonetheless cheerful.
I've been here for the whole thing. End of an era."
The three were thoughtful for a few seconds before Harry
continued. "B'Elanna, I was thinking. Quite a few of
the crew are either working at Starfleet HQ, living in San
Francisco or visiting due to Voyager's landing. Do you think
this would be a good time to do a little digging? You know..."
out what people know about Section 31?" B'Elanna interrupted.
"Well it's an opportunity, I won't deny that. But who's
here, is there anyone around that might actually know something?"
won't know unless we try." Harry quickly scanned the
surrounding area in the hope of spotting someone quickly,
but there was no one about. To his surprise, Tom saved him
the bother of trying to convince B'Elanna any further.
I know you're as intrigued about this whole thing as Harry,
you've talked about it often enough these past few days.
Go with him, find out what you can. Harry's right, there
are likely to be more people in the area today than on any
other day, and I can take Miral."
look at Tom's face showed B'Elanna that he really didn't
mind her skipping off without him, so she quickly decided
to go with Harry. Conducting her own visual scan of the
area, she saw Ensign Vorik in the distance. As her gaze
settled upon him, he turned quickly and started to head
away from their position. B'Elanna couldn't be sure if his
movements had been prompted by her scrutiny or were just
pure coincidence, but either way she decided he was the
perfect subject to start talking to. Before he could get
too far, she turned back to Tom and Harry and said,
Tom, you take Miral. I'll see you later. Harry, come on!"
She then took hold of Harry by the arm and pulled him away
from her husband and child, leaving Harry with time only
to throw a quick goodbye over his shoulder. As they hurried
along, it occurred to Harry that maybe Vorik was scurrying
away in an attempt to prevent himself being seen to think
it necessary to watch an old vessel landing for the last
time. There was something very sentimental, and therefore
very un-Vulcan, in the whole idea. If that were the case,
it was too late - Vorik had been busted.
didn't take long for the determined pair to catch up with
their target. The vulcan ensign hadn't managed to leave
their sights once, and when they called his name for a second
time he thought it unwise to appear as though he hadn't
heard them. It was obvious they had seen him, why make matters
worse? So instead, he slowed to a halt and turned to greet
Torres, Lieutenant Kim. Can I be of assistance?"
decided not to correct her rank, or lack thereof. She did
not wish to get into a discussion on that topic right now,
other matters were more pressing.
you've been in the 'fleet for some time now," she started.
than either of you," the vulcan stated, "can I
ask where this is headed?"
they were faced with a direct question, neither Harry nor
B'Elanna were quite sure what to say. The truth was, there
was very little they knew about Section 31. They had very
little basis on which to ask questions of others. B'Elanna
decided to just jump straight in.
you heard of an organisation known as Section 31?"
vulcan, thought B'Elanna, short, to the point, and you have
to bleed them for every tiny bit of information.
more suited to dealing with vulcans than B'Elanna, Harry
decided to take over.
you tell us anything about them?" he asked.
know little, but could I ask you why you are interested?"
inwardly sighed, but he continued nonetheless.
come across them in our dealings with the Sernaix, though
as yet have managed to uncover very little information.
It would help us a lot if we could find out more."
see," Vorik paused. "I know little more than of
their existence, though that is of course more than many
others are aware of." The last appeared to Harry and
B'Elanna to be some sort of excuse, a defence against his
ignorance in this matter. Frankly, they were surprised.
They had thought he would have known more. However, it was
clear they were going to get nowhere further so B'Elanna
decided it would be best to move on and try elsewhere.
thank you Ensign. We appreciate your time."
nodded in acknowledgement, then turned and left them alone.
When Harry was certain he was out of earshot, he let out
that went well."
just hope that someone knows more than that," B'Elanna
replied, "otherwise this is going to turn out to be
one big waste of a day."
will know something, they have to. Maybe we'll come across
the captain. Her father was an admiral, she has to know
count on it, Harry," B'Elanna already sounded dejected,
with that pleasant thought, she strode back towards Voyager
and left Harry trailing in her wake.
spent the first part of the morning, accompanied by his
wife, making his way back to the house he had not seen in
over eight years. Like many of the Voyager crew, Tuvok had
left his home expecting not to see it for some time. He
was, after all, to spend some time undercover in the Maquis.
The precise length of this mission had been unknown, though
it was always expected to be of considerable duration. Depending
on the success of his reconnaissance, the infiltration could
have lasted for anything from weeks to months to over a
year. As events had turned out, his period in the Maquis
had been relatively brief. It had been time spent aboard
a Starfleet vessel, serving in his usual capacity as Chief
of Security, that had kept him away for so long. He was
grateful that his unexpected removal to the other side of
the galaxy had only delayed his return to his home world,
and not prevented it entirely.
the most part, T'Pel allowed her husband to walk in silence.
Whilst it had been some time since she too had been on Vulcan,
her last sight of the planet had been considerably more
recent. She was grateful for her experiences in the Bubble.
The mind meld she and her husband shared had allowed her
to experience his sensations of being so far from home in
the Delta Quadrant, not knowing if he would return. However,
she considered that having lived a similar life on a day-to-day
basis gave her a greater understanding of this time, and
as such helped her bond with her husband continue to deepen.
couple were taking a longer route to their property than
was strictly necessary, and T'Pel chose not to voice how
'human' his sightseeing detour could appear. She had noticed
a change in Tuvok in the past few months. Whereas in the
past her husband had never wavered from vulcan customs or
values, despite his frequent association with other races
in his work, since spending so long aboard a ship with the
same mix of mostly human crewmen he had picked up tendencies
that were at the very least of questionable vulcan origin.
However, while she knew this to be true, and she knew Tuvok
to be aware of his actions, she knew he did not appreciate
such things to be pointed out.
to keep quiet was a lesson learnt early in vulcan childhood.
the couple reached their front door. T'Pel stood aside and
allowed Tuvok to enter first. As he did so, he surveyed
the room in which he had spent both so much and, more recently,
so little time. It was just as he remembered it. The same
tasteful colours in the decor, the same logic puzzles displayed
in the cabinet in the corner, the same artwork hanging on
the wall. This was his home, the residence he had shared
with his family as he and T'Pel had raised their four children.
If he had been human, he might have said that the familiarity
being Tuvok, the Vulcan returning home after so long, he
merely turned to ensure his wife had now cleared the front
door, and pulled it shut behind her.
the administrivia of her morning and lunch break over, Kathryn
Janeway approached the gleaming Voyager and entered with
some trepidation. Now that it came to seeing what they had
done with the place, which elements of their journey were
felt fit for portrayal, she was almost as nervous as a schoolchild
waiting for their first report card. This place would represent
the truth behind their journey to thousands of people. In
the years to come, she would meet strangers who had formed
an opinion of her based solely on the information they had
gathered from this museum.
was a hard feeling to shake off, and an odd one. She was
about to walk around what could essentially be her own memorial,
and she wasn't even dead yet. She hoped not to be for some
time to come.
had yet to join her. His transport back to San Francisco
had been delayed slightly, so he had instructed Kathryn
to begin her tour without him. She had told him she would
start at the bottom and work upwards, hoping he could make
it by the time they reached Engineering.
so she made a beeline for Deck 15.
didn't take long to get around; there really wasn't much
of any consequence down there. In fact, Janeway mused, she
would be willing to bet most visitors missed this deck out
entirely. No wonder those who had worked down here had been
so fed up at times, it was so far away from anything of
wasted no time in moving up a deck, and was just starting
to consider if this was any better when Chakotay came to
a halt beside her, out of breath after running from his
sorry it took so long."
smiled back at him reassuringly as she replied, "It's
okay, you didn't miss much, not down here. It's just occurred
to me how rarely we came down to these decks."
chuckled. "No, there was always more going on elsewhere.
Who would want to come down here when you can be facing
down countless hostile races from the comfort of a chair
on the bridge!"
his laughter, Kathryn took another look around her while
Chakotay gathered his thoughts. After a minute had passed,
he spoke again.
was the landing?" he asked.
was okay, nothing special. Most people had said their goodbyes
before, we knew that."
wish I could have been there with you."
it was better that you weren't," Kathryn brushed off
his concern. "I had time to make peace with my ship,
to think about where I go from here."
Chakotay asked. But he got no reply. Kathryn moved off to
the next section, pointing to a particularly impressive
display as she went. Chakotay didn't know what to make of
her ignoring his question, so he chose to change the subject.
sister and I enjoyed a nice morning, and by lunch she was
expressing a wish to meet some of my friends from Voyager."
nice," Kathryn replied noncommittally. Chakotay went
course, some held more interest to her than others."
time, Kathryn interrupted before he could say any more.
me guess, she wanted to meet the reclaimed Borg drone, and
the ex-Maquis who became one of the finest engineers the
'fleet has ever seen."
had been about to say that his sister had been particularly
keen on meeting Kathryn, but something told him not to say
it. And he had no idea why. Instead, he followed Kathryn's
lead with a forced laugh.
something like that." As he paused, Kathryn stopped
walking in front of him, and he realised they had made a
full circle of the deck.
we move on?" she asked. "I think we've seen everything
a nod of his head, Chakotay agreed, and followed her to
looked up as T'Pel re-entered the room. She had been in
their study contacting Sek, their eldest son.
have set up a time, we are to arrive at their house in two
hours. T'Meni will have finished her schooling for the day,
so you will be able to meet your grandchild."
Sek's wife is off-planet at the moment, attending a conference,"
I shall reacquaint with her another time."
room fell into silence once more, and T'Pel regarded her
husband curiously. Presently, he began to talk.
have been thinking about distant elephants."
puzzled expression on her face, T'Pel replied, "Distant
did not realise how important it would be to me to return
to Vulcan. It has been a distant goal for eight years now,
but always something that would be addressed when the time
came. Now the time has arrived, and I find myself unprepared.
Returning home seemed a small consideration when it was
not an immediate one, but now it is before me I have found
it to be disturbing. More adjustment is necessary than I
anticipated. The distant elephant appears larger when it
is standing directly in front of you."
have not heard you use that expression before."
origins are on Earth, it is unsurprising that I do not use
tell me, are any other elephants appearing to you?"
expression would also fit my thoughts concerning T'Meni."
grandchild disturbs you?"
is not what I imply. I am preparing to meet the first in
a new generation of our family line. The firstborn child
of our own firstborn. At the time I was informed of her
birth, it was impossible for me to return to Vulcan and
welcome her to my family. Since that time, I have been aware
of her existence, but thought little of the time I would
meet her. Now her paternal grandfather will enter her life,
an important figure in a young child's development. Yet
I have not prepared for this role."
you have prepared. We raised four children together."
nodded, but there was little conviction in his action. He
sat unmoving for several minutes, before finally speaking.
you will excuse me, I must meditate."
with that, he left the room.
and Chakotay exited the turbolift and stepped onto Deck
8 of Voyager. Their main stop on this deck was Astrometrics.
The lab held mixed memories for the friends. It was a place
from which contact with loved ones had been reinitiated,
and news related - both good and bad. The demise of the
Maquis and Mark's marriage to another woman were among the
earliest news titbits to come their way.
course, the room also carried with it images of its constant
occupant over the past five years: Seven of Nine.
one, the relationship that turned out to be a mistake, on
more than one level.
the other, the friend, the surrogate daughter even, who
not so long ago left her with a damaged relationship, and
a feeling of betrayal. The feelings had lessened in recent
months, but they were still there at times.
the doors parted to allow them entrance, both found it strange
but also a slight relief that the only occupant of the room
was in fact Icheb, who immediately stood proudly to attention
in his cadet's uniform.
just Chakotay now," the ex-commander corrected.
Sir." Icheb, like many others it seemed, was having
trouble getting used to the lost ranks of the ex-Maquis
crew. Chakotay was getting used to it, though he did notice
Kathryn flinch a little as he amended Icheb's address. It
was barely perceptible, but she flinched all the same.
the group started to make small talk, Chakotay realised
that with everything that had happened lately, Kathryn had
had little time to catch up with Icheb. He knew how proud
she was that Icheb had formally started his Starfleet training,
and sensed that she might like some time alone with him
to find out how he was going. Deciding that now might be
the perfect opportunity, he took advantage of a lull in
I just realised I have a call I forgot to make this morning.
If you'll excuse me, I'll go and take care of it now. Should
I catch up with you again in Sickbay?"
surprised, but hiding it well, Kathryn replied,
course. I'll see you there."
a smile and a parting nod to Icheb, Chakotay was on his
and Icheb's conversation continued on general matters to
begin with, but Icheb knew she would eventually ask him
how things were going at the Academy. He was torn about
whether or not to admit to the problems he had had. What
would his former captain think if she thought it had not
all been plain sailing?
was aware that most of his problems had been due to his
status as a former Borg, rather than anything personal,
but even this was hard to admit to anyone. He didn't want
people to think he was unable to handle the comments people
made. If he received such insults at the Academy, the likelihood
is he would receive them throughout Starfleet and even in
elements of his private life, if and when he may eventually
develop one. He had to show he could handle himself, his
pride would let him do nothing else.
had noticed Icheb's mind wandering as they spoke, and it
was actually this very thing that led her to ask the question
he had anticipated. It was something the two of them shared
in common, training to be an officer in Starfleet, and as
such seemed like obvious ground to cover in their conversation.
how are things at the Academy?" she asked.
mind already made up as to what he would say, Icheb replied,
"It's good. I feel I am getting settled now. Some of
the early classes are on the easy side, but I anticipate
more challenging topics as time progresses. I may even take
a field assignment for a few months soon."
face had lit up as he spoke the last sentence, and Kathryn
was happy to see that he was progressing and enjoying the
life he was leading. She was proud of him. She had no doubts
that he would have had his share of problems, but he was
obviously handling himself well.
a few more shared experiences, such as Icheb's first meeting
with Boothby, Icheb parted company with his former captain.
Left alone in the Astrometrics lab, Kathryn glanced around
some of the exhibits - including a large image of the Caretaker's
array - before following Icheb out of the door.
and B'Elanna walked through the corridors of Voyager on
the lookout for potential sources of information. Today,
that's all people were; they didn't have the time or the
inclination to stop and exchange catch-up stories with anyone.
they rounded the corner into Engineering they spotted Seven
on the other side of the room, and so joined her, hoping
she might have noticed someone useful around.
Harry greeted her, "I didn't realise you were going
to be here."
did I," the former Borg replied, "but it appears
that I am." She offered no further explanation than
this. "I did not expect to see either of you here either,
and you look as though you are looking for someone."
are," B'Elanna replied, "several someones. We
decided to take this opportunity to do a little digging,
find out what people know about Section 31."
nodded. "A reasonable decision," as close to approval
as they were going to get. "Whom have you talked to
sighed. "Not many. We caught up with Ensign Vorik outside
but he knew nothing, despite his family's long history with
Starfleet. He knew of Section 31's existence, but nothing
we could add to what we already had. In fact, I think we
could have told him a thing or two. Since then, we've been
walking around the ship, but either seen no one we could
talk to, or big groups of people that we did not want to
talk to all together."
is the key here," Seven agreed. Then, as she spotted
a new group entering Engineering, she continued. "There
is a group that might be worth asking. If you will remember,
I mentioned to you after conducting some of my research
that Dr Bashir had some experience with Section 31."
and B'Elanna looked around to see whom it was Seven was
are those people with him?" B'Elanna asked.
Miles O'Brien and Quark," Harry replied, "looks
like a regular Deep Space 9 outing. I supposed they would
have some interest in the ship, we did launch from there."
O'Brien also knows some things about the organisation,"
Seven added. "He too would be worth your while to talk
Seven, but there's one problem with this picture."
Seven and B'Elanna looked at Harry quizzically. "Quark."
Harry uttered that one name with more disdain than B'Elanna
had believed possible from him.
could be a problem," B'Elanna agreed.
do not understand." Seven's statement was just that,
a statement, but Harry and B'Elanna both knew that it was
also her request for more information.
is a Ferengi," B'Elanna started, "a race not best
known for their discretion. He is also not a member of Starfleet,
and as such it may be best not to discuss sensitive matters
in front of him."
am not a member of Starfleet, and neither are you,"
Seven pointed out.
that's different," Harry stepped in, "and I'm
sure the Borg assimilated enough Ferengi for you to be aware
of what we mean."
am uncertain that many were assimilated." Somehow,
this didn't surprise B'Elanna.
way," Harry continued, "we can't talk to the others
with him there. In fact," Harry turned to face Seven
straight on. "You could occupy him for us while we
talk to Dr Bashir and Chief O'Brien."
could occupy him." Seven sounded less than convinced.
"How would you have me do that?"
was intrigued, and decided to just step back and let Harry
convince Seven to help them.
if Quark remembers me, he's going to be wary of my motives,"
Harry began his appeal. "When we last met, well, let
me just say that he may have been left with a desire for
revenge, against me and Tom." At this point Harry was
struck with the perfect way to take B'Elanna out of the
running too. "And seeing as it was me and Tom he had
dealings with, well, it's been all over the news that Tom
and B'Elanna are married. What better way to get back at
him that through his wife?"
was still unconvinced, "Those points aside, how am
I supposed to occupy him?"
was almost at a loss, he'd already used all his arguments,
feeble though they were. Then, inspiration struck.
it a challenge. Not many people survive their first lone
encounter with a Ferengi without buying or almost buying
something, this is the perfect opportunity to prove that
you are better than all those people." Harry added
a pleading smile to his statement, and hoped.
well," Seven finally replied, "for the good of
the Federation." Then she walked off in Quark's direction.
thought the 'good of the Federation' bit was a little over-the-top,
but she let it slide. She was more interested in if there
were any other reasons Harry had been able to convince Seven
to help. She had noticed them getting closer over the past
weeks, but had always been reluctant to ask either of them
for any details.
even her own predictions, B'Elanna had come to gain a lot
more respect for the ex-Borg in the recent past. She had
seen Seven's self-doubt over personal relationships, and
found herself unwilling to risk jeopardising what could
be a valuable and healthy partnership for both of her friends.
Yes, they were both her friends.
course, she could just ask Harry what was going on, but
something told her that wouldn't be the right thing to do
either. His experiences with Libby were still relatively
recent. The last thing B'Elanna wanted was to see him retreat
into himself, harming the relaxed interaction he now shared
instead, B'Elanna kept quiet, and just watched things develop.
the subject of watching things, she was now also watching
as Seven successfully manoeuvred Quark away from Dr Bashir
and Chief O'Brien, leaving the way clear for Harry and herself
to begin their questioning.
there nothing this woman couldn't do?
Janeway was surprised at how little time ten decks of her
tour had taken her. Now on Deck 5, she entered Sickbay to
find the Doctor standing in his office. She walked through
to join him.
I didn't know you were here, it's good to see you."
too," Janeway smiled. "It seems to have turned
into a day for bumping into people, since I've been walking
around the ship anyway."
I've not seen anyone else as yet. Mind you, that's nothing
new," the Doctor grumbled, "no one ever did make
much of an effort to get to Sickbay."
you've been here the whole time?"
course!" he replied. "I had to come and inspect
the place, make sure they got it right."
ignored the obvious remarks about getting out to see other
people, and changed the subject. "Actually, Doctor,
I was wondering. Have you been in much contact with Reg
speak to him regularly, saw him not long ago. What makes
sighed with relief. "I was hoping someone was speaking
with him. I've not had a chance to keep in touch since we've
been back, and well, he's done so much for us..."
felt guilty, but now you know someone else has been talking
to the man your conscience can rest."
wasn't quite sure how to reply to that. It sounded bad,
but it was basically true. Best to say nothing. So, she
changed the subject. Again.
do you think of the exhibit in here?"
exhibit? Well..." The Doctor strode out into the main
part of Sickbay with such a sense of purpose that a feeling
of utter dread seeped through the captain's entire being.
Why did she suddenly have the feeling that that was entirely
the wrong question to ask?
continued the Doctor, indicating all around him, "is
supposed to be a display of all the Delta Quadrant species
we met during our journey. First of all, it's incomplete.
Second of all, it's inaccurate. Thirdly..."
held up one hand to stop him. "Slow down a bit, incomplete?"
it's in the title, 'all the Delta Quadrant species'. Well,
to begin with, the Numeri are missing, as are numerous others.
So, either the title is inaccurate, or the display is incomplete."
that's not the end of the world. They can't include everyone
we met, there are just too many!"
not all that's wrong."
had a feeling she was in for the long haul. "What else
of the information they have managed to include is wrong.
What kind of incompetent forgets to mention when a species
has two separate and complete cardiovascular systems?"
sure the exhibit isn't as bad as it seems," Kathryn
attempted to placate the irate Doctor, "but if you
feel strongly about it why don't you contact those responsible
for the exhibits and submit the changes you'd like to see
Sickbay doors opened and Chakotay entered just in time to
hear the EMH cry,
a doctor, not a museum curator!"
trouble, and correctly guessing the cause, Chakotay quickly
strode to Kathryn's side and stepped into the fray.
with your experience on Voyager you are Starfleet's foremost
expert on these species. Who could possibly be better than
you to determine how to present them to the people of the
was a momentary pause as the Doctor contemplated what Chakotay
had just said, but it appeared his ego had been sufficiently
boosted when he replied,
you're right. Someone has to tell them where they went wrong,
and there really isn't anyone else more suited to the job."
He then left straight away, with the intention of contacting
whoever would listen to him.
to her new companion, Kathryn asked,
do you do that?"
Chakotay replied, "Do what?"
the Doctor down so easily. All I seemed to be able to do
was get him more worked up, then you stroll in and talk
him down so quickly I barely had a chance to take it all
in! It's just not fair."
just smiled, turned away, and started to walk out of Sickbay,
muttering something unintelligible under his breath as he
Kathryn prodded as she followed him. "Chakotay, tell
me what you just said."
continued to walk, his grin spreading over his face.
Speak to me! CHAKOTAY!!"
he kept on walking.
and T'Pel arrived at the doorstep of a modest house, crafted
from stone and situated on the outskirts of their hometown,
on the opposite side to their own residence. Slowly, almost
hesitantly, Tuvok raised his hand to press the button that
would request their entry.
seconds later, the door opened to reveal Sek standing before
them. He wore robes of dark blue very similar to the ones
his father was wearing, and was carrying a musical manuscript.
Mother, come in." He stood back to allow them entry
into his home. "It is good to see you once more."
father, mother and son made their way through to the main
room of the house. There, sitting at a table, was T'Meni
- Tuvok's first and so far only grandchild. She was attempting
a logic puzzle, one intended for children of almost twice
her own age. Tuvok noted that she was doing so with some
see she takes more than just her name from my mother,"
Tuvok stated. "Her logic appears to be well developed."
is consistently top of her class in her schooling,"
Sek replied, with what in humans would only be termed as
pride in his voice. "I have great hopes for her."
do we all," T'Pel added. "It is gratifying to
see her doing so well."
can only hope that Varith, Elieth and Asil are so fortunate."
they follow the example of their sibling, they can do no
more." Tuvok's complement was not unrecognised by Sek,
and he bowed his head to show this.
now, when the voices of the adults went quiet, did T'Meni
turn to see those who had entered her home. She slowly rose
from her chair and made her way to her father's side, leaving
him the perfect opportunity to introduce his daughter to
I would like you to meet your grandfather, Tuvok. Tuvok,
raised his hand in the traditional Vulcan greeting, and
was pleased when T'Meni did the same.
T'Meni. It is my honour to finally meet you."
a little shy, T'Meni moved slightly closer towards her father
and made no reply. Sek moved them all further into the room,
and everyone sat down while he went to get some tea. T'Meni
had placed herself with T'Pel between herself and her grandfather,
a gesture typical of children throughout the galaxy when
meeting someone who is essentially a stranger to them. It
had been some time since she had last seen T'Pel, but she
did have some memory of who she was.
Sek returned, T'Meni was drawn out of her shell by questions
about her school and her interests. Both T'Pel and her son
were pleased to see the other two starting to act more familiarly
with each other, and by the time T'Meni's meal time approached
a satisfactory progress had been made.
she left the room, the young girl turned to her grandfather
has been interesting to meet you."
she walked away.
Tuvok's mind, an elephant rode back into the distance, then
was getting fed up of the small talk. Harry had insisted
that they couldn't just go in and ask two near-strangers
what they knew about Section 31, so they had started off
with the obvious questions - how did they like the ship,
did they make the trip specially or were they on Earth for
some other reason? She couldn't even remember their answers,
her mind was so fixed on their purpose for talking to them
in the first place.
Harry slipped in a mention of Section 31 and their current
interest in the organisation, and it appeared Dr Bashir
was only too happy to tell them everything he knew. He launched
straight into a tale of how he was abducted by Commander
Sloan, a member of Section 31, and continued to talk about
what had happened afterwards.
Sisko and I talked about what we should do, how we could
go about what you're doing now and find out more,"
Julian was saying. "We talked about infiltrating Section
31, and as it happened I was later recruited by the very
organisation I was so interested in. So, I pretended to
join, and whilst I was with them travelled to Romulus and
obtained information on the Romulan government; but all
the time I was still secretly working for Captain Sisko."
had to admit, Dr Bashir could certainly spin a tale.
learnt that Sloan was in fact head of Section 31,"
he continued, "and that he had plans to assassinate
the head of the Tal Shiar. When I attempted to get help
and pass this information on to the correct authorities,
my attempts were countered, and the council was informed
that there was no Section 31. I didn't have enough evidence
this point, O'Brien decided to throw in his own involvement.
Harry was pleased with how easily the information was being
handed to them.
was later that same year that Julian and I found out Section
31 was responsible for the disease afflicting the Founders,
including Odo. We conceived a plan to get the cure from
them, which succeeded, and we found out a lot more about
the organisation along the way. Unfortunately, it wasn't
enough to destroy them."
and Harry couldn't have been happier. It appeared they had
finally found a source of some useful information.
you tell us more about what you found out?" B'Elanna
asked. "Start from the very beginning, assume we know
O'Brien began, "they're an organisation a little like
the Romulan Tal Shiar, or the former Cardassian Obsidian
Order, only this lot started out as part of Starfleet..."
information poured out of him. How they were now operating
independently, but still in what they believed to be the
Federation's best interests, and the depths to which some
of the conspiracies ran, were amongst the gems to be told
by both officers. None of the information was recent, so
there was no mention of the Sernaix, but this didn't damped
Harry's enthusiasm by much. Between them, or even individually,
Bashir and O'Brien were the most informative source they
had questioned yet.
they finally ran out of steam, Harry scanned Engineering
to signal to Seven that she could return to them and rescue
her from Quark's company. However, she was nowhere to be
seen, and neither was the troublesome Ferengi. Sometime
during their conversation they had both left the department,
leaving Harry with the uneasy feeling that he owed Seven,
and owed her big, for doing such a good job.
he too left Engineering with B'Elanna, having thanked Bashir
and O'Brien, he started to wonder what he could possibly
do for someone as independent and needless as Seven to make
it up to her.
and Chakotay's tour of Voyager had reached Deck 3, which
meant one thing - their own quarters. Kathryn was almost
afraid to see what had been done. It was one thing trying
to talk the Doctor down in Sickbay, but now she found herself
with the possibility of a similar situation her sympathy
for him increased. What would she do if she didn't like
the portrayal of her own life onboard Voyager? With her
position as it was at the moment, she wasn't too sure she
would have the power to do anything at all.
rounded the last corner only to almost walk straight into
Tal Celes as she exited the captain's quarters. Celes stopped
short, her face turning bright red at the embarrassment
of being caught nosing through the quarters of her superior
officer. She immediately began to apologise.
I am so sorry. It's just, I never..."
okay!" Kathryn cut the younger woman off mid-sentence.
"There's no need to apologise for being in my old quarters,
they're free for anyone to visit these days."
know, it's just, it feels like such an intrusion. It's one
thing being in someone's quarters when invited, but walking
through the home of someone you know, examining their belongings,
whether replicas or not, it's just all so... so... but I
never spent much time on the officers' deck, not on any
ship, and I was curious to see what they were like. It seemed
like such a good opportunity, but now you're here and I
feel like... I don't know what I feel like..."
nervousness was coming out in her rapid, rambling speech,
and Kathryn again felt the need to reassure her.
be silly," Kathryn started. "Over the coming years
thousands of people are going to be walking through these
rooms, examining every small detail in an attempt to learn
more about our crew. You have as much right to be in those
quarters as any of them. Even I have no more or less right
to be in them now, don't trouble yourself about it."
you, Captain," Celes replied, though she still sounded
unconvinced. "I'll be going now." With that, she
walked swiftly away.
handled that well, Kathryn," Chakotay observed. "Don't
try to tell me again you aren't good at talking people down."
you're referring to what I said earlier about the Doctor,
this is different." Chakotay remained silent, thinking
it best not to argue, and Kathryn continued. "Celes
has shown a lot of promise over the past few years, I hope
she can find some success now that we finally made it back
too," agreed Chakotay, "she deserves it. They
all do. Now, how about we take a look at what they did here
offered Kathryn his arm, and she linked her own through
it, as they walked into her old quarters.
they walked into the unknown...
and Tuvok sat alone in the younger man's study. T'Meni had
finished her meal, and T'Pel had taken her out into the
gardens for a walk with the intention of giving her husband
some time with his son.
just remembered," started Sek, "I intended to
show you one of my manuscripts."
rose from his chair and crossed to a cabinet under the window,
which once opened revealed a neat row of musical scores
printed on real paper. In the corner of his eye, Sek noticed
his father's raised eyebrow. It was an old-fashioned, illogical
way to store the transcripts. To his credit, Sek wasn't
phased by his father's scrutiny. He paid the unspoken question
no heed at all, and continued his search for the piece he
was looking for.
a few minutes more, he pulled out a particularly well-worn
bundle and handed it to his father.
is my best received construct to date."
opened the pages, and after a few minutes' perusal commented,
touched a screen to activate his computer, and then requested,
music file 'Sek omega 4'."
haunting melody filled the room, played on a combination
of pipes and vulcan drums. Both father and son were silent
as the music continued, each lost in their own thoughts
as the tune swelled around them. Eventually, it was Tuvok
that broke the silence.
did you take your inspiration from?"
composed this piece after a day spent in isolation, meditating
on the plains about five kilometres from our town. The melody
grew from my thoughts on that day, and I spent the next
six days committing it to record in this room. It was a
further four months until I was happy that it was as it
you say it was well received."
a group of touring musicians requested permission to add
this piece to their repertoire. I agreed, and since that
time it has been performed across our planet and beyond.
The recording you are listening to was taken from a performance
in the Highlands of Scotland."
the piece came to its conclusion, Tuvok commented,
have made a wise decision. You are obviously skilled at
your chosen craft."
nodded in acknowledgement and appreciation at his father's
I hear it again?" Tuvok requested.
instructed the computer to repeat the playback, and once
again the only sound to be heard in the room was the music.
As it drew to its end for a second time T'Pel quietly entered
the room, having returned from the garden with T'Meni.
she began, "it is time for us to be leaving."
glanced at the chronometer on Sek's desk and rose from his
chair, agreeing that it was time for them to be moving on.
Sek, Tuvok and T'Pel moved out into the main room of the
house again, where T'Meni was waiting to say her goodbyes.
will see you again soon," Tuvok addressed his granddaughter.
T'Meni merely nodded, and walked with her father and grandparents
to the door.
will visit you at your house soon," spoke Sek, "so
that you may tell us of your journey. My wife will accompany
are always welcome," replied T'Pel, as she and her
husband turned to walk home.
contrast to the rest of the ship, the Mess Hall was brimming
with life and energy. In keeping with its appearance in
their days in the Delta Quadrant and the Bubble, it seemed
that the room couldn't help but be the centre of Voyager's
social universe. There were maybe ten or fifteen people
present, most of them former members of Voyager's crew.
The numbers were smaller then they often had been in its
heyday, but bearing in mind the actual numbers of people
present on the ship in total it was a definite majority.
It was certainly more people than Kathryn and Chakotay had
seen in one place all day.
they scanned the room upon entry, Chakotay saw one of his
former colleagues from his Academy days and went over to
speak with him, leaving Kathryn standing just inside the
door. She wasn't standing there long before a small bundle
of energy came rushing up to her shouting,
across the room, Naomi Wildman had seen her former captain
come into the room and was now dragging a Ktarian male over
to meet her. Kathryn assumed this was Naomi's father, though
somehow they had not yet been properly introduced. As Naomi
screeched to a halt in front of her, Kathryn smiled down
and said hello.
how are you?"
thank you Captain. I'm showing my dad around the ship, we
just went to the bridge and after this we're going to my
quarters." Looking up at her father, she continued,
"This is Captain Janeway. Captain, this is Greskrendtregk."
Naomi stumbled slightly over the name which was still quite
foreign to her, and entirely foreign to Kathryn who didn't
even attempt to repeat it.
to meet you," was what she settled for in the end.
too," Greskrendtregk replied, "I have heard a
lot about you from Naomi." This was an understatement.
Since Naomi had been living with him, Greskrendtregk had
heard nothing but tales about Voyager and her heroic captain.
The hero worship had been obvious, but the genuine affection
between the captain and his daughter had not been apparent
to him until this moment, finally seeing them together.
Kathryn addressed the young girl, "what have you been
telling him about me?"
bad, I promise!" Naomi looked so sincere Kathryn found
it a struggle not to laugh. "I was just telling him
how good a captain you were, and how I was your assistant,
probably the youngest Captain's Assistant in Starfleet!"
forget the best," Kathryn smiled at Naomi and then
altered her gaze to address the girl's father. "Naomi
was very good at her job, I was lucky to have her. You have
every reason to be proud of her."
am," Greskrendtregk replied. He looked down at his
daughter, who was now staring at the floor, her cheeks bright
pink as a blush crept up her face.
then the doors to Kathryn's left opened again, and B'Elanna
and Harry rushed in. They had just spoken to someone who
had seen the captain enter with Chakotay, and having been
hoping to catch up with her all day they had decided they
couldn't let this opportunity pass them by.
B'Elanna started, "I'm sorry to interrupt, but there's
something Harry and I wanted to discuss with you."
turned to apologise to Naomi and Greskrendtregk, but they
had already turned to leave, assuming from her dramatic
that entrance B'Elanna had some important business to discuss.
As her she was looking on, Naomi glanced back and gave her
captain a smile and a wave. Kathryn then turned back to
her former Chief Engineer.
seems you have my full attention, so what is it?"
here, outside." Harry and B'Elanna turned and walked
back into the corridor, leaving Kathryn with no choice but
to follow. By the time the doors had closed behind them
and the three had slipped into a small alcove around the
corner, Kathryn's suspicions were running high.
wanted to ask what you knew about something, Captain."
Harry still lacked the directness that B'Elanna had displayed
about an organisation that until recently, we never even
knew existed." B'Elanna was also beating her way carefully
around the subject, now that she was faced with her former
captain. Kathryn recognised this, and decided to push on.
it out, B'Elanna. What organisation?"
took Kathryn a moment to recover.
31? What are you doing digging for information about them?"
you know something?"
my question first."
a link between Section 31 and the Sernaix. Our involvement
started after Seven's mind was occupied by a Sernaix ship-mind,
and during that time..."
went on to explain to Captain Janeway everything that had
happened to them regarding the Sernaix and the hints of
involvement with Section 31, in as brief a summary as possible.
She added what Dr Bashir and Chief O'Brien had told them
earlier that day, and by the time she had finished Kathryn
Janeway was, for once in her life, utterly speechless. After
some pause, Harry Kim spoke up for the first time since
B'Elanna had started explaining.
I guess you don't know any more than we do."
Kathryn replied, "I did know of Section 31's existence,
and some of what you've related to me just now, but nowhere
near as much as you've managed to uncover. I'm afraid I
can't help you."
okay, Captain, we struck a lucky break with the doctor and
the chief being here today."
certainly did. Can I ask you both something?"
and Harry replied simultaneously.
you keep me informed of anything else you find out?"
be the first to know," assured Harry.
as near the first as possible," amended B'Elanna, and
the three friends shared a smile.
if you'll excuse me, Chakotay and I have a tour to finish."
Kathryn excused herself, and then walked away down the corridor
to re-enter the Mess Hall.
her, Harry and B'Elanna headed off in the opposite direction.
guess we're unlikely to find out any more today," Harry
probably right. Care to take a look around the captain's
quarters while we're onboard?" B'Elanna's smile was
mischievous, as though she was going to uncover her captain's
deepest darkest secrets.
Harry grinned. "After all, not many officers get to
nose around their captain's quarters with no chance of being
reprimanded as a result."
they headed off to the turbolift.
Cargo Bay Two, a lone figure walked amongst the exhibits.
the bay had been transformed into a display detailing all
of Voyager's dealings with the Borg. From the first detection
of Borg vessels on their sensors, to an account of all the
publicly available knowledge about their return to the Alpha
Quadrant, every encounter was mentioned.
of Nine, however, was not interested in these subjects.
Her only interest was in the wall dedicated to herself and
each of the other former Borg that Voyager and her captain
had taken under their wings. Stretched across the wall,
much as they had been when they had been operational, was
a line of regeneration alcoves. Of course, for the purposes
of this display all pertinent operational components had
been removed, but the appearance was still authentic.
surprised Seven how sentimental she could be when presented
with such a sight. This room held many memories for her,
some of them the earliest she possessed as a human individual.
Her memories before assimilation were still relatively few,
and it was sometimes odd to think that her life as a human
really did begin in early adulthood. People often assumed,
due to her vast technical knowledge, that she was older,
wiser, than she really was; but when she was alone, she
could admit to herself that really, particularly emotionally,
she still had a lot to learn.
a lump formed in her throat when she came to the display
about the Borg children that they had left behind. It made
her wonder whether Icheb had seen what had been written
about his former companions. Next time she saw him, she
would ask him. She knew he would want to come and read what
had been said.
in her thoughts and memories, Seven was unaware of the length
of time she spent wandering about the exhibits. Such reminiscence
was a new experience for her, an experience that she was
coming to feel a need to share. She found herself surprised
at the depth of feeling that could be evoked by what was
essentially, just a big room.
was startled out of her thoughts by a group of young crewmen
piling noisily through the doors, seemingly oblivious to
her presence. With one last look around her, and a tentative
hand laid on a picture of herself with Icheb and Naomi,
she turned around and left.
day, she would bring her aunt back to see this room. She
hoped it would help to explain to her what her life had
been like, and what she hoped to achieve in the future.
and Chakotay moved from the bridge into her Ready Room,
the final point of their tour. The Ready Room was empty,
affording them the first privacy they had had since the
lowest decks of the ship.
been quite a day," commented Kathryn.
has." Chakotay looked down at his boots as he continued.
"To be honest, I was a little worried about how you
would handle today."
was I," Kathryn admitted. "It never seemed like
such a big thing before, but this morning, and I don't know,
with lots of things recently, it's like... distant elephants."
not heard that expression? I just assumed... well, Tuvok
explained it to me, and I thought that if a vulcan knew
looks like you're going to have to elaborate."
way I remember it, it's about things appearing small when
they're not immediate, you don't have to think about them
too much so they seem like they're somehow not important.
Yet when these same things become your present and are right
in front of you, they're a much bigger deal, in the same
way that an elephant appears to be much bigger when it's
standing right in front of you."
the elephant is small when he's just coming over the horizon.
That makes a lot more sense than I thought it was going
let out a laugh. "I felt the same way when Tuvok first
explained it to me."
which are the elephants this time?"
I don't know." Kathryn walked up to the windows of
her old sanctuary, and looked out over the surrounding grounds.
"A lot of things. What would happen to Voyager once
we were all back. I considered it, but I never gave the
matter too much of my time. Somehow, I always assumed she
would continue to fly. This idea, the museum, never crossed
my mind; and its meaning for the ship, for all of us, didn't
strike me until today.
museum is going to be here long after we're all gone. It's
going to tell everyone all about our journey; who we were,
what we fought for, after none of us are around to tell
the stories ourselves."
brought this on?" Chakotay asked. "I'm still hoping
that's a long way into the future!"
not sure," Kathryn replied, "maybe it has something
to do with Molly."
turned back to face her friend. "My mother had to have
her put down. I didn't get to see her before she was gone."
I'm so sorry." Chakotay walked over to Kathryn, intending
to offer her comfort; but when he got there, he found himself
uncertain as to how to act. Kathryn was no longer his commanding
officer. There was no good reason, no protocol stopping
him from just taking her into his arms, but it didn't feel
right. Maybe it was the setting, maybe something else, but
he wasn't comfortable.
it was Kathryn herself. She had been evasive when he mentioned
the future earlier that morning. But then maybe that had
had something to do with their being onboard Voyager too.
She had been comfortable enough to seek comfort with him
as they watched the ship dock at Utopia Planetia, it had
seemed as though things may finally have been starting to
change. But now, today, she had pulled back again.
to me," Kathryn's self-depreciating voice interrupted
his thoughts, "getting all emotional. It's been a good
day. I want to thank you for sharing it with me."
held out her hand and attempted to lace her fingers through
Chakotay's, but to his surprise he now found himself pulling
back. The possibility that it was their location, the implications
of this room, came rushing back to him, but he just couldn't
get past it. A look of hurt briefly crossed Kathryn's features,
before she schooled them back into a close approximation
of her captain's mask.
I have to be going." She recovered her composure well.
"I'm supposed to be at my mother's for dinner."
on my regards," Chakotay requested, and she brushed
past him on her brisk walk to the door. Before he was able
to properly take in what had just happened, Chakotay found
himself alone in the Ready Room. He glanced around, taking
what would now be a rare opportunity to remember the times
he and Kathryn had shared in this room. He remembered early
arguments about the post of Chief Engineer, the first of
many, but always resolved. He remembered one of their first
moments of friendship, as they considered the possibility
of crewmen remaining with the 37's and what it would mean
for their journey.
the years went by, countless hours, countless decisions
argued and agreed on and finalised, and lives changed for
better, and for worse.
many they had talked to, the thought of being stranded for
eight years was unthinkable, the greatest tragedy to have
befallen anyone they knew. But it hadn't all been bad. They
had lived through experiences that no other could imagine,
and had forged close friendships, relationships that had
survived one challenge after another. He couldn't help but
feel that this was something that no one but the crew of
Voyager would ever be able to fully understand.
entered the Wildmans' old quarters to find Naomi about to
remove the Flotter doll from the exhibit in her room. Startled,
Naomi turned around far too quickly and as a consequence
the whole exhibit went tumbling to the floor. Almost before
she'd fully turned to face Icheb she then swung back around
to survey the damage, and a startled gasp escaped her lips
as she realised what had just happened.
look what you made me do!" Naomi was obviously annoyed
with him, and pointedly didn't look at him as she started
to pick up the components of the display. Icheb instead
came over to her, and started to help her tidy up the mess.
sorry Naomi, I did not intend to startle you. However, you
should not be playing with the exhibit."
wasn't going to play with it," the small girl replied
as indignantly as was possible, "I was going to take
it to the museum's owners and tell them that this doll isn't
what way? It looks like an adequate representation for the
purposes of this exhibit."
supposed to look like my Flotter, but this one is brand
new. Mine is more floppy than this one, and there's a rip
in the fabric of his foot where I caught it on the buckle
of my shoe once. If this ship is supposed to show people
what it was like for us, the Flotter should look like mine,
not any old doll you can replicate from the database."
was actually impressed with Naomi's argument, but all the
same she shouldn't have touched the exhibit and he proceeded
to tell her so.
not important Naomi, you still shouldn't remove items from
is important!" Naomi cried.
was obviously going to have to try a different tack.
think you should let someone know about the mistake,"
he continued, "but you don't need to take Flotter with
you to do so. If you did, those people who came to see your
quarters in the meantime would miss out on seeing him completely."
time it was Naomi's turn to be impressed, and she told him
right," she said, "I'll leave him here then. But
that's not all they got wrong."
as to what else was inaccurate - Icheb himself had not yet
had a chance to survey his surroundings - he waited for
her to continue.
didn't get a mention anywhere. Not here, or on the whole
ship. I checked. When I couldn't find anything in here,
I looked in the cargo bay, and then I checked with the museum
computer. Ratty isn't there at all."
had spent enough time with Naomi to know that Ratty was
very important to her. Luckily, he had also spent enough
time around her to have some idea how to diffuse this situation,
as it was very unlikely that anything would be added to
the museum about the small creature who should never have
been on a starship in the first place. Children on generational
ships throughout the fleet could start to pick up stray
creatures if they found out about Ratty, and he knew their
respective captains would not be thankful for it.
it's because he was only here a short time," Icheb
began, "and there are so many things to show everyone
that there wasn't space for him. Besides," and here
came his trump card, "does it not make Ratty more special
to you if not many people know about him? Other children
may all want to call their pets Ratty, then yours would
no longer be the only one."
was quiet for a minute as she thought about this. Maybe
he was right; Ratty was special, and he was hers. Well,
hers and Mommy's. But hers mostly. She didn't want other
Ratty's, she only wanted the one she had. So maybe it was
better that he wasn't in the museum.
Naomi was quiet, it occurred to Icheb that there was no
sign of her father, and they had long since put the exhibit
back together so she should probably be going to find him.
aren't you supposed to be showing your father around the
was, and I will be again in a minute," she replied.
"I just wanted to look around here on my own. Especially
once I noticed there were things wrong. So I sent him on
to engineering, we haven't been there yet and there's lots
there for him to see while I'm gone."
long have you been here alone?"
not sure now, I sat beside my bed for a while thinking.
It's probably time for me to go after him now."
Icheb agreed, "I think that would be a good idea."
am going to speak to someone about Flotter though."
Naomi started to walk towards the door as she spoke. "Maybe
if I take an adult with me they'll take more notice anyway."
is possible," Icheb replied.
turned around and said goodbye before she half ran, half
walked out of the door, leaving Icheb behind her.
Naomi," he replied, as the doors closed behind her,
leaving him alone to continue his tour.
had been one hell of a day. Kathryn Janeway had been back
in her apartment for over an hour, yet still she couldn't
make herself sit still and relax for more than five minutes
at a time. She wasn't even clear what had her so agitated,
she just knew that everything was not right in her world,
leading to her current restlessness and the resultant pacing
around her quarters.
tour around Voyager had left her with mixed feelings. Seeing
everyone's quarters had reminded her about the friends she
was missing now they had all gone their separate ways. She
may have tried to keep herself apart from the others, tried
to remain the captain, but the camaraderie between herself
and her crew had still kept her going over the years. Now
it was gone, her crew were moving on with their lives. Somehow,
they seemed to be leaving her behind.
the same time, the tour had reminded her of all they had
achieved on their journey, and just how hard her crew had
worked to get them home safely. It had also reinforced her
desire to get back to what she herself did best - captaining
a starship. She had heard what she'd been told, she knew
that the chances were slim-to-none that it would ever happen
again, but that just served to make her more determined
to do something about it.
her pacing found her in front of her communications unit,
and before she thought too hard about it she plugged in
the code for Admiral Paris's home terminal. It was after-hours,
but he was one admiral she could always get hold of, day
or night - it helped to be in with the family.
face popped on the screen less than thirty seconds later,
and Kathryn found herself facing her friend and superior
officer with no argument lined up. However, this wasn't
the first time she had had to construct an argument on the
spot, and she hoped it wouldn't be the last. She waited
while Owen greeted her and commented on the late hour, then
launched straight in.
Admiral, I had to contact you again about my next posting..."
he interrupted, "we've spoken about this before..."
know," Kathryn intersected, "but nothing seems
to be happening, and I have no idea what I can do to improve
my prospects. My career is important to me, right now it's
not far from being everything I have, yet I can't even be
sure if I do have it. You know me, Owen, you know what I
do best. You know I can't spend my life working on small
projects from Headquarters, not thrown out of the 'fleet
but not really serving anymore, either. It's convenient
for them, that's all, to have me out of the way. No public
uproar from the heroic captain being thrown out of service,
but they don't have to deal with me in charge of a vessel.
What is it, are they too afraid I'll run shotgun after so
long answering to no one but myself? I served for years
before we were thrown into the Delta Quadrant, does my past
record count for nothing?"
stopped to catch her breath, not sure where that entire
speech had some from. She knew better than some of the things
she had said, and started to wonder if maybe she should
have thought a little more before contacting Admiral Paris.
It was too late now though, time to just deal with it.
you finished, Captain?"
calling her by her rank got her attention, and she reflexively
came to attention before replying,
let me speak. I can't say any more to you than I have already,
and for that matter than any other of your superiors has
already. Frankly, I'm glad you let your little tirade out
at me, because that kind of insubordination could get you
in more trouble than you've been in already."
sorry, Owen," Kathryn's shoulders sagged a little as
she continued, "I'm just frustrated. I can do so much
more than they're letting me. Can't you tell me anything?"
know how you're feeling, but I'm afraid what you know stands.
I can tell you nothing that you haven't already been told,
or worked out for yourself."
it, Kathryn. Nothing else. Is that clear?"
The tone of Kathryn's voice reflected her dejection. It
was becoming clear that Owen either could not, or would
not give her any more information. "I'm sorry to have
bothered you so late."
okay, I can understand your feelings on this, though it
may not seem like I do. Goodnight, Kathryn."
Paris terminated the connection before Kathryn had a chance
to reply, leaving her staring at a blank screen. Collecting
her thoughts, she moved through to her bedroom. She was
feeling a growing urge to get away for a day or two; take
some time to think about her career, and her personal life
as well. Those members of her crew she had spoken to today
were at least moving forward with that part of their lives,
almost without exception.
would go out to her family's cabin near Lake George, maybe
take a walk along the waterfront tomorrow - it would be
too late to do so by the time she made it there this evening.
Kathryn hadn't been anywhere near Lake George since returning
to Earth, though it had always been one of her favourite
spots. The holodeck recreation was fun, but never lived
up to the real thing. Holoimages rarely did.
didn't take Kathryn long to pack what she needed into a
duffle bag, and she was just heading out of her apartment
when she remembered she was supposed to have been at her
mother's for dinner... two hours ago. The plans had always
been tentative, Kathryn never being sure if something was
going to come up at work to prevent her attending, so she
could only assume that her mother had presumed this to be
the case and not bothered attempting to contact her.
wishing to get into a long conversation, Kathryn rattled
off a short text-only message and sent it to her mother's
terminal, explaining where she was going and apologising
for her absence at dinner. Gretchen probably wouldn't get
it until the morning, but it made Kathryn feel better all
the same. Taking a final look around at her apartment, she
stepped out into the night, and locked the door behind her.
was starting to fall on Vulcan, and the winds were picking
up once more. Out on the desert plains the dust began its
nightly dance, and Tuvok was struck by the familiarity of
it all. Strange, considering how long it had been since
he had last walked alone, taken a night to meditate out
was having a hard time deciding whether today had been easier
or harder than he had expected. His first meeting with his
granddaughter had not been as open and welcoming as it might
have been, but then he hadn't expected it to be that way.
At the same time, it had not left him with the sense of
enormity that he had anticipated.
had left him with a renewed will to reacquaint with the
remainder of his family. So much time had passed since he
had seen his other sons, Varith and Elieth, or his daughter
Asil. He had been in contact with them during those last
years in the Delta Quadrant, when some communication was
possible, but their time in the Bubble had again been devoid
of any contact with the people back home. He had missed
much in his children's lives, a fact he had not fully appreciated
until this day and his meeting with T'Meni.
occurred to him that now he was back on Vulcan it would
be far too easy to lose touch with the events concerning
his Voyager crewmates. There were few he could call friend,
rather, his heritage dictated that there really was only
one onboard that ship whom he could truly consider in that
had known her for a number of years, had seen her mature
as both a captain and a person. And between this woman and
himself there had developed something rare between their
two races - a close and enduring friendship.
had been many periods over the previous eight years when
she had caused him concern. Her capacity to care for her
crew was one of her strongest assets, yet it had also had
occasion to be one of her failings. Her emotional decisions
had at many times defied all logic, but he had to concede,
she had gotten them out of every situation they had found
themselves in. She had almost combined the roles of captain
and surrogate mother to many, and this he found to be an
Tuvok approached the location at which he planned to spend
the night, he stopped to look up to the skies. His thoughts
widened to the other crewmen he had served with over the
years, and he began to consider all that he had learnt on
Voyager and all that he still had to learn. As the sun set
over the horizon, his last thought of the day was that he
had travelled perhaps the greatest journey of his life,
but that now he was home, he had a new journey to begin.
trudged along beside B'Elanna, having been invited back
to her apartment for dinner. She had an amazing tendency
to set a pace much faster than was comfortable for him,
even at the end of a long day spent walking every inch of
their old ship and further. Frankly, he was exhausted, and
was trying to come up with the best way to tell her so.
oblivious to his discomfort, B'Elanna babbled on about their
may not have got useful information out of many people,
but I think what Dr Bashir told us was worth the effort
we mustn't forget that what he knew is now years old. Things
change, it may be that nothing he told us is worth a damn."
Harry's exhaustion was playing on his spirits.
can't believe what he and Chief O'Brien told us will get
us nowhere. Things may have changed, but we have a place
to start, somewhere from which to follow a trail. We didn't
even know any definite names before, they gave us Sloan's
name on a plate."
wasn't getting him anywhere, so Harry stayed quiet.
have to keep looking though," B'Elanna continued, "we
don't have nearly enough information yet. I won't stop until
we know exactly what is going on with the Sernaix, and if
there's something we should be doing to... well, I'm not
precisely sure what we should be doing, I just have an unbelievable
feeling that following through on this is the right place
door to the Paris' apartment couldn't have been a more welcome
sight to the young lieutenant. B'Elanna let them both in,
and called out to Tom as they deposited their jackets on
a convenient chair. Entering the living room, Harry saw
Miral playing with a replica of a Romulan Warbird, and sat
himself down to join her.
emerged from the kitchen with a smile on his face, and walked
over to kiss his wife hello.
extra for dinner then?" he asked.
hope that's not a problem," Harry spoke from his position
on the floor.
at all," Tom replied, "I was replicating it anyway.
Just going through my files to decide what to make."
stifled a laugh, Tom never changed. He wasn't sure he'd
ever seen him actually cook. A cry from Miral brought his
attention back to the young girl, and he started to fly
the warbird over and around her head, her small hands reaching
out for it every time it came close enough. Little giggles
escaped her lips, and made her small frame shake. Neither
Miral nor Harry noticed Tom and B'Elanna leave them.
sky was overcast, and the incessant drizzle just added to
the grey atmosphere as Kathryn approached the shores of
Lake George. The atmosphere suited her mood well. Sleep
had not been easy to reach last night, and she wasn't altogether
sure the sleep she had managed to get had been worth the
effort to get there. It was true that she rarely awoke feeling
completely rested, but this morning was worse than most.
She hoped that the fresh air - no matter how cold it was
- would help to revive her, maybe get her thoughts running
Voyager yesterday had brought back many memories. Good times,
bad times, but all of them in the past. Now, standing and
staring out over the choppy waters of Lake George, it was
really coming home to her that that part of her life was
over, and it was time to move onto the next challenge. If
only she knew what that was. Starfleet, as had been evidenced
last night, were being less than forthcoming about her next
assignment. She hoped this was because they had something
exciting planned, something that they couldn't announce
too early in case it all fell through and there was nothing
left to tell people about. This was what she hoped. What
she more suspected to be the case was that Starfleet just
didn't have a clue yet quite what they were going to do
with her. They had made it as obvious as they could that
she would never captain a starship again. Just what else
could they do with someone with her experience? Yes, she
knew her science; enough to get her through life onboard
a vessel anyway. But she hadn't had the opportunity, thanks
to both the demands of command and a sheer lack of actual
data due to their geographical position, to keep up with
the latest research and achievements. To go back into the
scientific world that command had plucked her from would
take more work than many people assumed. She just did a
good job with the appearance of knowledge, that was all.
was the obvious place for her.
ship was the obvious place for her.
was where she wanted to be.
thoughts were interrupted when she thought she heard the
bark of a dog. As far as she had seen on her walk to the
edge of the lake there had been no one else about, so she
was curious to see if she was still alone. Scanning in every
direction, she couldn't see anything but open spaces and
the shadows of buildings, the area deserted by people in
preference to the warmth and comfort of an indoor space.
The man tying a small dog to a tree was hidden from her
view by a large bush and the extra cover of the drizzle.
She decided she must have imagined the bark, as from her
point of view there was no sign of any animal that could
have produced the sound. Molly had been on Kathryn's mind
a lot recently, maybe it was just her imagination playing
tricks on her.
now there was a sore subject. Kathryn had half expected
her long-time companion to pass away before she ever made
it back to Earth and Indiana, but to her surprise and delight,
the old dog had hung on until she had been reunited with
her owner. Then a cruel twist of fate stole her away before
they really got to spend any time together. Molly may have
been alive to see her owner's return, but she never lived
long enough for Kathryn to have the opportunity to really
enjoy spending time with her again.
branch broke behind her, and this time Kathryn was sure
the sound had been real and not her imagination. Turning
quickly, almost too quickly to retain her balance, she couldn't
hide her surprise at seeing Chakotay standing there.
Chakotay extended his hand to her, in which there was a
single peach-coloured rose.
this for? You're a few days off my birthday." Kathryn
took the rose from Chakotay and inhaled its scent.
not for your birthday, Kathryn, and I'm well aware of when
your birthday is."
glanced down at the flower in her hands again, before looking
back up at Chakotay.
what are you doing out here?"
came looking for you. After yesterday, I couldn't leave
things like they were. I tried to find you at your apartment,
and then at your mother's because I remembered you mentioned
your dinner there, but I got no answer at either place."
did you find me here?" Kathryn asked.
tried your office, and when you weren't there this was the
only place I could think of that you might have gone to.
If you hadn't been here, I wouldn't have known where to
let out a gentle laugh. "If you ever have to go looking
for me again, the next place to try would be my sister's
house in Ireland."
try to remember that."
was a silent pause now, as neither one of them knew how
to bring up what they both wanted to discuss. Kathryn continued
to fiddle with the rose in her hands, until Chakotay finally
you still afraid to be alone with me?"
Kathryn replied quickly, eager to reassure him. "What
makes you think that?"
were at one time, I know that. I heard your thoughts, remember?"
but things are different now. I don't have the same reasons
to be afraid. There's no command structure to follow, no
reason to stop myself from acting or feeling how I please.
But, yesterday, I got the feeling that maybe you weren't
feeling that way. You pulled away."
the Ready Room? Honestly, I'm not sure what happened there.
I didn't mean for that to happen, I had just been thinking
about how you had seemed distant to me earlier that day.
And then, when you reached out to me..."
elephants look pretty big right now."
bowed her head, unable to continue to look into his face,
his eyes. Somehow, she knew that something was just about
to change. Yet at the same time, she was unable to be the
one to change it, unable to look at Chakotay and face what
she hoped was about to happen.
continued to stare down at the ground until she felt Chakotay's
fingers gently lifting her head upwards, raising her line
of sight so that she was looking at him once more. Brushing
a stray lock of hair behind her ear, he slowly brought his
lips to hers and kissed her. The kiss was gentle, loving,
tender. Their arms found their way around each other, and
closed any remaining distance between them. It was both
everything and nothing that either of them had ever imagined.
And it was over far too quickly.
the kiss broke, they stood with their arms still wrapped
around each other, their foreheads resting together. The
first words to be spoken came from Kathryn, as she whispered
"I love you," just loud enough to be heard above
didn't reply; he couldn't. The emotions swirling inside
him forbade him from saying anything, so he just kept holding
Kathryn as a single tear escaped from his eye.
as suddenly as he had earlier appeared behind her, Chakotay
pulled away, grabbing Kathryn by the hand and saying to
just remembered something!"
and with no real choice in the matter, Kathryn followed.
They appeared to her to be heading towards a large bush.
In fact, she could see nothing else in the area. However,
as they got closer, Kathryn began to hear the yapping of
a small dog, and she began to wonder if she really had heard
a dog earlier when she had thought she was alone.
they rounded the bush, she saw a Jack Russell Terrier tied
to the tree behind it. As she crouched down in front of
it, Chakotay moved to untie it. Holding the small dog's
lead and coming back around to join Kathryn, he handed the
lead to her.
is for you."
was overwhelmed, and for the second time in two days found
I don't... for me?" The grin she flashed at Chakotay
reached her eyes.
with her reaction, Chakotay too smiled a full smile, the
dimples on his cheeks emphasising his pleasure at seeing
her so happy.
for you. I was originally going to save her for a few days,
but I couldn't wait."
knelt down in front of her new pet, and let the dog familiarise
herself with her. Looking back up to Chakotay, she asked,
she have a name?"
not yet," he replied. "That's up to you."
Kathryn was now talking to the terrier, "what are we
going to call you, eh? What do you want to be called?"
continued to play with the dog, laughing freely for the
first time in weeks, or maybe months. Not caring about the
drizzle and the mud, she rolled around on the ground, gathering
as much dirt on herself as she was on the dog. Chakotay
took up a position leaning against the tree, and just enjoyed
broke on Vulcan, and upon hearing the front door click shut
T'Pel looked up from her book, and rose to meet her husband.
She needed no words to discern the exhaustion in his features,
so she led him into the kitchen and prepared one of his
preferred blends of tea. It took a moment to brew, and whilst
it did so she took in the peaceful demeanour behind the
exhaustion. It appeared that, beyond the tired eyes, the
day's events and the night's thoughts had done her husband
some good. She knew that his reintroduction to their normal
life was going to take time, but she also knew that the
challenge would widen his experiences. She too would learn
from joining him on his journey.
poured their drinks and carried them, leading Tuvok towards
their sofa. Here, they sat, and talked, as the first signs
of morning appeared on the horizon, and a new day began.
Producers: Thinkey, Anne Rose and Coral